Raiding The Music Makers


Posted on : 8/28/2011 10:26:00 AM | By : Dann | In : , , , ,

It was recently reported that federal agents have raided the Gibson guitar company.  This is the second such raid.  The purported justification for the raids is that it is against Indian (the ones in Asia, not in North America) law for Indian wood to be harvested and not finished by an Indian.  Importing unfinished wood from India is a violation of their laws and as a result, it is also a violation of the amended Lacey Act.

The Lacey Act makes it a federal crime to import wood in a manner that is not compliant with the laws of the exporting country.

It was also reported that the government of India did not initiate a complaint with the U.S. government.  Federal agents were acting of their own volition.

Ordinarily, I would chalk this episode up to the sort of predictable lunacy that results from our leviathan federal  government.  Granting government agents power to enforce vague or poorly written laws inevitably results in some agent somewhere doing something really, really stupid.

Like raiding an American manufacturing company and seizing their inventory without any complaint from the country of origin of a legally imported material.

If Gibson had openly purchased the wood from Indian companies and exported it in an open and documented fashion, then the government of India had an opportunity to stop the process on their side of the ocean.  The fact that they did nothing to halt the shipment suggests that their enforcement policies differ from their laws in some way.  In any case, the government of India made their choice.  Who are our government agents to suggest that the purchase and exportation of the wood was in violation Indian law if Indian government agents permitted the purchase and exportation to move forward?

Unless Gibson smuggled the wood out of India, I don't see the problem.  This is not a rare species of wood.  The importation of the wood did not create any environmental risk in the United States.

So why do such a thing?  Aren't we focused on creating (or 'saving') American jobs?

Ordinarily I am loathe to turn to a cynical explanation.  Via Instapundit:

UPDATE: What a coincidence! CEO of Gibson Guitar a Republican Donor. And their Democratic-donating competitor, Martin, uses the same wood but wasn’t raided. Well, when you’ve got a President who jokes about tax audits as revenge for a personal slight, it’s hard not to be suspicious, isn’t it?
Rather Nixonian behavior if you ask me.  And most certainly disappointing.

The next time someone suggests that we can't eliminate any federal jobs, I will promptly remind them of this episode of government gone wild.

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